LANSING, Mich. — The state Senate on Friday voted to approve the fiscal year 2023 budget.
“Similar to previous years, a major focus was increasing our commitment to K-12 education and Michigan students, and to critical state priorities like road and bridge repairs and growing our workforce and economy,” Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes. “The Senate also voted to set funds aside for much-needed tax relief as those discussions with the administration continue.”
Senate Bill 845, which includes funding for K-12 education, features a nearly $2.6 billion increase from last year, moving the total K-12 budget to $19.6 billion. The bill dedicates $630.5 million to increase the minimum foundation allowance to a total of $9,150 per student.
The school aid budget also includes $305 million in scholarship funding to help address critical teacher shortages, a $295 million funding line to address student mental health and to increase access to mental health care, $33 million for school-based health clinics, $175 million to support current school employees earning a teaching certificate and $52 million for grants to help schools address learning loss still lingering from the pandemic.
The Senate also passed House Bill 5783, which includes, among other measures, the following items:
- $2.3 billion to help fix local roads and bridges.
- $1.7 billion to fix state highway roadways and bridges.
- $414.5 million to maintain wage increases for direct care workers.
- Funding to help local governments meet their pension obligations and free up funds for local services like police, fire and road repairs.
- A boost for the Going Pro and Michigan Reconnect programs to help train and retain Michigan workers.
- Funds to train 170 new state police troopers and additional 800 corrections officers.
- Funding included in the Environment Great Lakes and Energy budget for an updated geological survey. The state currently relies on information that is over 100 years old.
- Money to help recruit and train school bus drivers to help with the current shortage. This issue was exacerbated by the pandemic as drivers were unable to update their CDL licenses due to secretary of state branch closures.
In addition to funding critical state programs and investing in education, the budget also outlines numerous local projects that will benefit communities across the state. The spending plan includes the following items in the 33rd Senate District:
- Sheridan Hospital would receive $6.6 million for improvements to better care for patients.
- Wheels to Work, which at one time was a self-funding program and helps residents get to work, is set to get a $1 million boost to assist with COVID-related setbacks.
- Isabella County would receive nearly $5 million for a new communications tower to allow law enforcement to improve response times and better serve area residents.
“We’ve made record investments in schools, our economy and our workforce and most importantly, we did so without passing on an additional burden to taxpayers,” Outman said. “Responsible budgeting set the groundwork for where we are at today, but we were also able to utilize funding from growing state revenues and one-time emergency funding to boost our investments in Michigan’s future.
“This budget goes a long way to fund some of our most critical needs, but also makes sure we live within our means.”
Both bills will now go to the governor for her consideration.